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know if i should tell you that because other governments will hear me and not help us anymore. $7 billion in our reserves. more than 30 universities private and public. roads, electricity, the future holds clear and progress and prosperity but the standards of our region and afghanistan. now will afghanistan, 10 years from now be a very prosperous country? will they have resolved all the difficulties? will afghanistan be a super power? no.
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but afghanistan will be a country that will be moving forward. education will grow better. thousands of students will graduate in our own universities. thousands more will come from studies abroad who are now studying abroad. the democracy and institutions that democracy requires will grow, there will be more elections. there will be more institutional reform. there will be a better government but afghanistan will continue to face problems, there may be violence and there might be other challenges as we move forward but the speed of progress will move and will not stop. will afghanistan remember the united states as a country that helped or a country that did not help?
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definitely afghanistan will remember the united states as a country that helped. definitely afghanistan will remember that it was the u.s. assistance that brought so much to afghanistan. who will forget the less pleasant aspect ours relationship and we will move forward in the gratitude of the help that the united states has provided to afghanistan and also our other neighbors. but from today as we move forward will this relationship be a emotional as it was at time as you have heard in the past many years? will this relationship billion more mature? this relationship has already grown mature. we recognize the united states interest and afghanistan and
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the region and the united states recognizes that afghanistan is a good country. and has a life of its own. it has a law of its own and has a social context of its own. in that social context afghanistan will move forward in partnership with america and also until partnership with the other countries of nato that have helped us in the past many years. will afghanistan, beyond 2014, be a country that you can visit as tourists? yes, it will. will afghanistan suffer the consequences of terrorism? it might on occasions. will the peace process work? it will.
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will the peace process take us back to times where the afghan woman could not go to work? no. will we keep our progress it is part of if peace process? yes. it is important today to get through this forum where the afghan woman council was created many years ago. if afghanistan will have peace but peace with the taliban will not drive us away from the gains that we have made. rather those gains will definitely be consolidated and those gains will remain with the afghan people. you,m talking to afghanistan has a standing police of 350,000. afghanistan has a banking
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sector, afghanistan has a strong culture. you've all heard of pomegranates they come from afghanistan. you have heard of grapes. they come from afghanistan. the ones that come from afghanistan, i know you have them in california as well. [laughter] so, ladies and gentlemen, there is a country in afghanistan just like here in america just like the rest of the world. there is wedding and wedding halls, there is music, there is cars honking, there are donkey driven carts. there is society, there is life. this society is out loudly and moving forward as any other
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society. it is this that i would like you to remember when you think of afghanistan. a country of 5000 years of history, at least. a country that has produced thinkers, philosophers. a country like other countries, and i can tell you that the most recent suffering will be behind us. a new time is beginning, has already begun. with 2014 coming, your sons and daughters will no longer be burdened with protecting afghanistan. the sons and daughters will take the mantle and move forward. and plenty more can best be
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described by frost. the words are lovely, dark, and d. but i have promises to keep and miles to go before i sleep and miles to go before we sleep in afghanistan. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you. >> thank you for your inspiring remarks. we asked our georgetown community, and now that we have heard from you about your degree, what the first question should be that we ask you.
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and we asked facebook so we could get as broad a response as possible. i have the daunting job of choosing which and trying to frame this question. you know students are very frank, and in their responses, the students of georgetown including several afghan students expressed their concerns about corruption, security, women's rights, and economic opportunity. the first question i would like to put to you on behalf of all these students, what hope can you offer a young generation of afghan men and women? >> a great question.
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hope has already been offered in afghanistan. what we had in 2001, only a few thousand students going to school, and none of them girls. today, you have a million students going to school, 45% of them girls, and they are used well. out of a membership of 240, 70 of the parliament are women. that is already taken. when you have a country having
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thousands of bridges and roads, never did we build some money in 10 years, that opportunity is taken. the country today has students, politicians, business is moving forward and thriving. that hope is taken. the question should be, will this hopes persist in 2014 when international forces withdraw from afghanistan? when they will be on their own, will we continue with this vote? without a doubt. if i am lucky enough to stand before you here again 10 years
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ago, we will speak three times in numbers. that certainty is there, and i am absolutely sure it is going to be the case. >> that is very hopeful. in order to get a broad representation of questions, we asked student organizations to formulate questions for his excellency. the first organization out like to call is the international development club. >> good evening, mr. president, and thank you for being with us tonight. i am chair of the international relations club. close enough. my question to you on behalf of my organization is this. if from a security perspective,
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one of the greatest concerns is that al qaeda will rebound and afghan the stand will become a terrorist state. how can you mitigate without risking green on blue attacks? >> one of the reasons the united states will continue a presence in afghanistan after 2014 in certain facilities, it is because we have decided to gather to continue to fight against al qaeda. there will be no respite in that. we will continue to work, and they will not. they are decimated, largely, and on their way out.
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when i receive security, we have meetings on security issues and we never come across the question whether it is a threat. the fact that the fight will continue, and affiliates will continue. and part of the reason the united states will continue to have limited facilities will be to continue that task. it is also recognized by our neighbors. thank you. >> international relations club, thank you.
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i can get it right the second time. the next student organization we would invite is the student association. >> my name is thomas gibbons, i am the president of the student veterans association. if i have served to deployment in your country as the united states marines. what would you say to an american family that has lost a son or daughter in afghanistan, and what would you say they die for? >> that is a relevant question. the united states came to afghanistan, as i said, to defeat terrorism. after these of timber 11 attack. the united states came to afghanistan for the security of the united states.
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and also for afghans. that act -- those unfortunate incidents of the lives lost in afghanistan were for the safety and security of the united states. and also, by extension, for the rest of us in the international community. just like the sacrifice of the afghan people. thank you. >> the next organization we would like to thank for organizing this event and the events like this in the university will be the lecture fund. >> i'm a member of the lecture
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fund and a sophomore. in the new york times, taliban fighters that lay down arms are getting increasingly frustrated and returning to the taliban. they cite a high unemployment rate for the reason for their frustration. what will you do to combat this trend? >> the high peace council whose chairman is here with us, a fund is dedicated to this purpose. this is the reintegration program. they are driven back with society. if there are instances, and i am sure there are, it requires assistance sooner and we will definitely look at it.
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it is a very important question, thank you for reminding us. >> the last student organization we would invite is the muslim student association. >> good evening, mr. president. i am with the moslem student association. we understand education as a vital factor in the overall growth and future stability of afghanistan. educated citizens can drive change from within. what are your plans short-term and long-term to ensure that this progress that you mentioned of education continues to move
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forward? especially in regard to increased access of education for women. >> we did see a great deal of violence against schools in the initial years by the taliban. we succeeded against that. there are executions and -- pakistan is going through a very difficult time. and other of events there, they are all a source of concern for us. i can speak with satisfaction, the suffering that we have had, our schools are safer in the past three years, the great majority of girls go to school in afghanistan do if in safety and security.
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we have not had any major incidents. and this concern for families and students would be less and less a matter to think of. thank you, sir. >> this will conclude the program. i have one important announcement before i thank our remarkable speaker. please do not leave your seat until you hear the voice in the wilderness that will dismiss us. and only the afghan delegation
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will depart until such moment. on behalf of all of us, you have given us allot to think about. a lot of inspiration. women are lucky to have your support and we look forward to a wonderful future for your country. thank you so much. [applause]
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>> friday's news conference with president obama and president karzai. also, president karzai met yesterday with defense secretary leon panetta and secretary of state hillary clinton. the joint press conference is about 40 minutes. >> it is my pleasure to welcome president karzai back to the white house as well as his delegation. we last saw each other during the nato summit in chicago, a city that reflects the friendship between our peoples, including many afghan-americans and the karzai family. mr. president, welcome. we meet at a critical moment. the 33,000 additional forces i ordered to afghanistan have served with honor, they have
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completed their mission, and returned home this past fall. the transition is well underway, and soon nearly 90% of afghans will live in areas where afghan forces are in the lead for their own security. this year will mark another milestone. afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country, and by the end of next year, 2014, the transition will be complete. afghans will have full responsibility for their security, and this war will come to a responsible end. this progress is possible because of the incredible sacrifices of our troops and our diplomats, the forces of our many coalition partners, and the afghan people, who have endured. in this war, more than 2,000 american sons and daughters have had their lives ended, whom we honor forever, and as we announce today, in the next
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month i will present our nation paused highest military decoration, the medal of honor, to a staff sergeant for his service in afghanistan. today, president karzai and i have been able to review our shared strategy. with the devastating blows we have struck against al qaeda, the reason we went to war in the first place is now within reach insuring al qaeda can never use afghanistan to launch attacks against our country. at the same time, we pushed the taliban out of their strongholds. today, most major cities and most afghans are more secure and insurgents continue to lose territory. afghan forces continue to grow stronger, meanwhile.
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as planned, some 352,000 afghan soldiers and police are now in training or on duty. most missions are already being led by afghan forces. of all the men and women in uniform in afghanistan, the vast majority are afghans who are fighting and dying for their country every day. we still face significant challenges, but because this progress our transition is on track. last year we agreed with partners that afghan forces will take the lead for security in mid 2013. president karzai and his team have been here for several days, we have consulted with our coalition partners, and we will continue to do so, and today we agreed that as afghan forces take the lead and as president
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karzai announces the final phase of the transition, coalition forces will move to a support role this spring. our troops will continue to fight alongside afghans when needed, but let me say it as plainly as i can -- starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission, training, advising, assisting afghan forces. it will be an historic moment, and another step toward full afghan sovereignty, something i know that president karzai cares deeply about, as do the afghan people. this sets the stage for the further reduction of coalition forces, and we have already reduced our presence to roughly 66,000 u.s. troops, and we will continue to bring our forces home at a steady pace, and in the coming months i will announce the next phase of our draw-down. president karzai has discussed the nature of our security cooperation after 2014.
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our team continues to work for an agreement, and they will be guided by our respect for afghan sovereignty and by our tenets which will be specific and narrow. first, training and assisting afghan forces, and, second, targeted counter-terrorism missions against al qaeda. it is hoped we will reach an agreement this year. security gains must be matched by political progress, so we have recommitted to a process between the afghan government and the taliban. president karzai has updated me on the afghan government's commitment to peace, and we agree this process should be -- reconciliation requires constructive support from across
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the region, including pakistan. we welcome recent steps that have been taken, and look for more tangible steps, because a stable at future afghanistan is in the interest of not only the afghans and the united states but of the entire region. we reaffirmed the strategic partnership that we signed last year in kabul, an enduring partnership between sovereign nations. this includes deepening ties in trade talks, commerce, , education, and opportunities for all afghans, men and women, boys and girls. this sends a clear message to afghans into the region as afghans stand up they will not stand alone. the united states and the world stands with them. let me close by saying this continues to be a very difficult mission.
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our forces continue to serve and the tremendous sacrifices every day. the afghan people make significant sacrifices every day. afghan forces will still be growing stronger. we remain vigilant against insider attacks. lasting peace and security will require governments at the ballot that delivers for the afghan people an end to safe havens for al qaeda. this will continue to get our work. make no mistake, our path is clear and we're moving forward. every day, more afghans are stepping up and taking a possibility, and as they do, our troops will come home. next year, this long war will come to responsible end. president karzai, i thank you and your delegation for the progress we have made together and for your commitment to the goals that we share. a strong and sovereign afghanistan, where afghans find security, peace, prosperity, and dignity, and in pursuit of that future, afghanistan will have a long-term partner in the united states of america. mr. president?
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>> thank you very much, mr. president, for your warm welcome and for appearing with us during our talks in the blair house. the president and i discussed today in great detail all the relevant issues between the two countries. i was happy to see that we have made progress on some of the important issues for afghanistan. concerning afghan sovereignty, we agreed on the complete return of detention centers and detainees to afghan sovereignty and that this will be implemented soon enough on my return to afghanistan.
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we also discussed all aspects of transition to afghan government and security. i am very happy to hear from the president as we also discussed it earlier that in the spring this year the afghan forces will be fully responsible for providing security and protection to the afghan people and that the international forces will be no longer president in afghan villages, that the task will be that of the afghan forces to provide for the afghan people in security and protection. that we also agreed on the steps that you should be taking in the peace process, which is giving sovereignty to afghanistan.
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we agreed on allowing the taliban have an office, where the taliban will engage in direct talks with the representatives of the afghan high council for peace, where we will be seeking that help of relevant reasonable countries, including pakistan, where we will try our best together with the other allies to return peace and stability to afghanistan as soon as possible and employee in all the means that are within our power to do that, so that the afghan people can live in security, peace, and work for the prosperity and education of their children.
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the president and i also discussed the economic transition of afghanistan and all that entails for afghanistan. once the transition to afghan forces is completed, once the bulk of the international forces are withdrawn from afghanistan, we hope the dividends of that transition will be beneficial to the afghan people and will not have adverse effects on afghan economy and the prosperity that we have obtained. we also discussed the issue of the election in afghanistan and the importance of election for the afghan people, with the hope that we will be conducting a free and fair election in afghanistan where our friends in the international community and the united states will be assisting in conducting those elections. of course, where afghanistan will have the right environment for conducting elections without interference and without undue concern. we also discussed in a bit of
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detail and in the environment that we have all aspects of the bilateral security agreement between afghanistan and the united states, and i informed the president that the afghan people already have given their approval to this relationship and value it as one that is good for afghanistan. in that context, the bilateral security agreement is one that the afghan people approve, and i am sure we will conduct it in detail where both the interests
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of the united states and the interests of afghanistan will be kept in mind. we had a number of other issues also to talk about during our conversations, and perhaps many times in that conversation, beginning with the composition of, of course. i thanked the president for the help that the united states has given to the afghan people for all that we have gained in the past 10 years and that those gains will be kept by any standard while we're working for peace and stability in afghanistan, including concern for the afghan constitution. i also thanked the president for the sacrifices of the men and women and those of other countries. i also informed president obama of the sacrifices of the afghan people, the immense sacrifices of the afghan people in the last
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10 years, both servicemen and the afghan people. i am going back to afghanistan this evening to bring to the afghan people the news of afghanistan standing shoulder to shoulder with america as a sovereign, independent country, but in cooperation and in partnership. thank you, mr. president. >> thank you very much. we have got two questions each from u.s. and afghan press, and we will start with scott wilson of "the washington post." >> mr. president, moving the deadline to the spring, it does that mean you will be winding down u.s. troops faster than you
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expected this year, and specifically, how many troops do you expect to leave in afghanistan beyond 2014 for the missions? and would you consider leaving any trips beyond that date without an immediate agreement for their actions? president karzai, you have spoken about the american presence poses as a threat to afghanistan sovereignty. how many u.s. troops you would accept after that time? thank you. >> scott, our first task has been to meet the transition plan that we set first in lisbon, then in chicago. and because of the progress that has been made by our troops,
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because of the progress that has been made in terms of afghan security forces, their capacity to take the lead, we are able to meet those goals accelerate them somewhat. so let me repeat. what is going to happen this spring is that afghans will be in the lead throughout the country. that does not mean that coalition forces, including u.s. forces, are no longer fighting. they will still be fighting alongside afghan troops. it does mean, though, that afghans will have taken the lead and our presence, the nature of our work, will be different. we will be in a training, assisting, and advising mode. we will still have troops there, and that means that our men and women will still be in harm's way, that there will still be the need for enforced protection, the environment will still be very dangerous, but what we have seen is that afghan soldiers are stepping up at
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great risk to themselves, and that allows us than to make this transition during the spring. what that translates into precisely in terms of how this drawdown proceeds is something that is not yet fully determined. i am going to be over the coming weeks getting recommendations from general allen and other commanders. they will design a responsible plan to make sure that we are not losing the gains that had already been made, that we're in a position to support the afghan
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units when they are in theater, and to make sure that our folks are also protected, even as we are drawing down. i cannot give you a precise number at this point. i will be making a separate announcement once i have got recommendations from the generals and our commanders in terms of what that drawdown might look like. with respect to post-2014, we have two goals, and the main conversation today was establishing a meeting of the minds in terms of what those goals would be with a follow-on presence of u.s. troops. number one, to train, assist, and advise afghan forces so they can maintain their own security, and, number two, making sure that we can continue to go after remnants of al qaeda or other affiliates that might threaten our homeland. that is a very limited mission, and it is not one that will require the same kind of footprint that we have had over the last 10 years in afghanistan.
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similar to the issue of drawdown, i am still getting recommendations from the pentagon and our commanders on the ground in terms of what that would look like. and when we have more information about that, i will be describing that to the american people. i think president karzai's primary concern, and you will hear directly from him, is making sure afghan sovereignty is respected. and if we have a follow-on force of any sort past 2014, it has to be at the invitation of the afghan government, and they have to feel comfortable with it. i will say, as i have said to president karzai, that we have agreements with countries like this all around the world, and nowhere do we have any kind of security agreement with a country without immunity for our
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troops. that is how i as commander in chief can make sure that our folks are protected in carrying out very difficult missions. i think president karzai understands that. i do not want to get ahead of research in terms of the negotiations that are still remaining on the bilateral security agreement, but from my perspective, it will not be possible for us to have any kind of u.s. troop presence post-2014 without assurances that our men and women who are operating there in some way subject to the jurisdiction of another country. >> well, sir, the bilateral security agreement is in mind for the interests of both countries.
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the issue of the immunity is of very specific importance to the united states we understand, as was for us the issue of sovereignty and the tensions and the continued presence of international forces in afghan villages and the conduct of the war itself. with those issues resolved, as we did today, the rest was done earlier, i can go to the afghan people and argue for immunity for u.s. troops in afghanistan in a way that afghan sovereignty will not be compromised, in a way that afghan law will not be compromised, in a way that the provisions that we arrived at through our talks will give the united states the satisfaction of what it seeks, and will also
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provide the afghan people the benefit that they are seeking through this partnership and the subsequent agreement. [indiscernible] that is not for us to decide. it is an issue for the united states. numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in afghanistan. it is the broader relationship that will make a difference to afghanistan and beyond in the region. the specifics of numbers are issues that the military will decide and afghanistan will have no particular concern and we are talking of numbers and how they are deployed. [indiscernible] >> i direct my question in my own language.
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mr. president, the mission of the united states, after 2014 -- how this mission will be, will it be resembling the same mission as it was during 11 years, or instead, a different kind of mission? and pakistan in particular, the safe havens that are in pakistan, what kind of policy will you have? thank you. >> the mission will be fundamentally different. just to repeat, our main reason, should we have troops in afghanistan post-2014, at the invitation of the afghan government, will be to make sure that we are training, assisting,
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and advising afghan security forces who have taken the lead and are responsible for security throughout afghanistan, and the interest the united states has, the reason we went into first place, is to make sure that al qaeda and its affiliates cannot launch an attack against the united states or other countries from afghanistan. we believe we can achieve that mission in a way that is very different from the very active presence that we have had in afghanistan over the last 11 years. president karzai has emphasized the strains that u.s. troop presence in afghan villages, for example, has created.
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that will not be a strain if there is a follow-up operation because that will not be our responsibility. that will be the responsibility of the afghan national security forces to maintain peace, order, and stability in afghan villages, in afghan territory. so i think, although obviously we are still two years away, i can say with assurance that this is a very different mission and very different task and a very different footprint for the u.s. if we are able to come to an appropriate agreement. with respect to pakistan and safe havens of there, afghanistan and the united states and pakistan all have an interest in reducing the threat of extremism in some of these border regions between afghanistan and pakistan.
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that will require more than simply military actions. that is really going to require political and diplomatic work between afghanistan and pakistan, and the united states obviously will have an interest in facilitating and participating in cooperation between the two sovereign countries. as president karzai has indicated, it is very hard to imagine a stability and peace in the region if pakistan and afghanistan do not come to some basic agreement and understanding about the threat of extremism to both countries and both governments in the capitals, and you are starting to see a greater awareness of that on the part of the pakistani government.
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>> the question that you have made about -- we talked about this issue in detail today, about the presence, the detention centers. all of these will refer to the afghan sovereignty, where the u.s. forces will pull out from villages, will go to their bases, and afghan sovereignty will be restored, after 2014. we're working on these relations. these relations will have a different nature and will be working on different principles.
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it will resemble turkey or germany. we are studying these relationships, and we will do that. >> thank you, mr. president. as you contemplate the end of this war, can you say something as commander in chief of the huge human, financial costs that this is, if it can be justified, that the world left behind will be somewhat diminished than at the beginning of the war? president karzai, many independent studies have criticized afghanistan for corruption and poor governance. do you stand by your assertion that much of this is due to influence of foreigners? will you stand down for elections next year? >> i want us to remember why we went to afghanistan. we went into afghanistan because 3,000 americans were viciously
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murdered by a terrorist organization that was operating openly and at the invitation of those who were then ruling afghanistan. it was absolutely the right thing for us to go after that organization, to go after the host government that had aided and abetted or at least allowed for these attacks to take place, and because of the work of our men and women in uniform and because of the corporation and the sacrifices of afghans who had also been brutalized by the then host government, we achieved our central goal, which
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is -- or have come very close to achieving the central goal -- which was to decapitate al qaeda. everything we have done over the last 10 years, from the perspective of the u.s. national security interests, have been focused on that goal. and at the end of this conflict, we are going to be able to say that the sacrifices that were made by those men and women in uniform has brought about the goal that we sought. now, when we also recognize the very early on was that it was in our national security interest to have a stable, sovereign afghanistan that was a responsible international actor, that was in partnership with us, and that that required afghanistan to have its own security capacity and to be on a
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path that was more likely to achieve prosperity and peace for its own people. and i think president karzai would be the first to acknowledge afghanistan still has work to do to accomplish those goals, but there is no doubt that the possibility of peace and prosperity in afghanistan today is higher than before we went in. and that is also in part because of the sacrifices that the american people have made during this long conflict. do i think have we achieved everything that some might have wanted us achieving in some areas?
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probably not. this is a human enterprise. did we achieve our central goal, and have we been able to shape a strong relationship with a responsible afghan government that is willing to cooperate with us to make sure that it is not a launching pad for future attacks against united states? we have achieved that goal, we are in the process of achieving that goal, and for that we have to take our turn very military, diplomatic and intelligence teams as well as the cooperation of the afghan government and the afghan people. >> on the question of corruption, whether it has a foreign element to it, in answer to your question, there is corruption in afghanistan, there
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is corruption in the afghan government that we are fighting against through various means and methods. we have succeeded in certain ways, but if your question is whether we are satisfied, of course not. and on the corruption that is foreign in the origin, but occurring in afghanistan, i have been very clear and explicit, and i do not think that afghanistan can see this corruption unless there is cooperation between us and foreign international partners on correcting some of the methods or applications, delivery of assistance to
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afghanistan, without cooperation, and without recognition of the problems. on elections, for me, the greatest of my achievements eventually as seen by the afghan people will be a proper, reorganized, interference-free election in which the afghan people can elect their next president. certainly, i would be a very tired president and a very happily retired president. >> my questions to you, mr. president, afghan women fear that they would be the victim of
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the process in afghanistan. what assurances can you give them that they will not suffer because of that process? thank you. >> the united states has been very clear that any peace process, any reconciliation process must be afghan led. it is not for the afghan press or the united states to determine what this peace will be, but what we have also been clear about is that from our perspective it is not possible to reconcile without the taliban renouncing terrorism, without them recognizing the afghan constitution, and recognizing that if there are changes they want to make to how the afghan government operates, then there is an orderly constitutional process to do that, and that you cannot resort to violence.
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the afghan constitution protects the rights of afghan women. and the united states strongly believes that afghanistan cannot succeed unless it gives opportunity to its women. we believe that about every country in the world. we will continue to voice very strongly support for the afghan constitution's protection for minorities, its protection of women, and we think that a failure to provide that protection not only will make reconciliation impossible to
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achieve, but also would make afghanistan's longterm development impossible to achieve. the single best indicator or one of the single best indicators of a country's prosperity around the world is how does it treat its women. does it educate that half of the population? does it give them opportunity? when it does, you will unleash the power of everyone, not just some, and there was great wisdom in afghanistan ratifying a constitution that recognizes that appeared that should be part of the legacy of these last 10 years. thank you very much, everybody.
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>> today on c-span, coco washington journal or coat -- "washington journal." later, it discuss -- discussion of mexican regulations under new relationship. >> myron ebell of the competitive enterprise institute. we will be joined by mark pozen ball -- ho

Politics Public Policy Today
CSPAN January 12, 2013 6:00am-7:00am EST


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